Sweet Tea

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tiramisu1
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2005/06/14 23:06:13 (permalink)

Sweet Tea

Toooo sweet? Has anyone else not from the southeast US ever gone there and been asked by a server: "Do you want sweet or unsweet tea?"

I told the server, well, if I want it sweetned then I'll put a packet of sugar in it. She looked at me like I was from Mars!

I guess sweet tea is iced tea brewed with a lot of sugar added.
I didn't realize how much people in the south love the stuff and drink it probably more than soda and water!!!!!
I wonder why the whole sweat tea thing is not popular in other places??
#1

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    BT
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 05:18:57 (permalink)
    A few short weeks ago, we beat this into the ground: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7905&SearchTerms=sweet,tea

    But if we must, we shall have another go at it.

    Your info says you are from Atlanta, GA. One must assume, therefore, that either all your questions are rhetorical or you have moved there within the last week. Otherwise, you would understand.

    You see, iced tea in general and sweet tea in particular are understood only within the borders of the old Confederacy and certain parts of the adjacent border states (Maryland, Kentucky, maybe Missouri). It's because of the climate; the steamy liquid air and soul-draining heat of southern summer which sweet iced tea makes endurable. If sweet tea did not exist, New Orleans would be uninhabitable in July; it would not be possible to mow one's lawn in Florida anytime between April and October (when the grass grows 1-2 inches per day) and the market for patio furniture south of the Mason Dixon would dry up and go away because no one would want to go outside, ever, from May until October. You cannot understand sweet tea if your shoes don't turn green when not worn for a few weeks; if you cannot smell jasmine, gardenia or magnolia blossoms when you open the window of a summer evening or if you do not shop at Piggly Wiggly or Winn-Dixie. Sweet tea, along with white bread, is the essential accompaniment to pork BBQ. It is a requirement to the enjoyment of summer evenings out on the lawn or veranda, watching the fireflies and the mist creeping up from the bayou or swamp. In short, sweet tea is the southern liquor of life and no where else do they comprehend it.

    In other places sweet tea doesn't exist and they serve cold tea with so little ice it quickly melts. They serve it in glasses that hold so little I generally drain them in one gulp. In CA, they try to serve iced tea when they have no lemon or lime to accompany it. They serve tea with various fru-fru flavors and colorations. They just don't know what they are doing. D_mn them all!

    http://ingeb.org/songs/dixie2.mid


    And, oh yeah, one more thing: Next time you tell some poor waitress there in Atlanta that you'll sweeten your own tea, you might consider whistling this as you do it: http://www.stephen-foster-songs.de/MidiDat/amsong32.mid That way, we won't have to explain it AGAIN
    #2
    Hillbilly
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 08:46:44 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    If sweet tea did not exist, New Orleans would be uninhabitable in July; it would not be possible to mow one's lawn in Florida anytime between April and October


    As great as New Orleans food is, I can't find sweet tea here (or in Florida outside the panhandle) except at the barbecue and fast food joints. I always order SWEET tea, and know they are going to look at me strange when I opt for water rather than pay for the colored water they call "unsweetened" iced tea. It is impossible to make a decent drink out of tea that has sweetener added to cold tea.
    #3
    UncleVic
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 09:20:56 (permalink)
    Here in Michigan... Atleast in this ones back yard, I use a gallon jar, 8 bags of tea and about 1 cup of sugar, squeeze in the juice of one lemon and let it sit all day... May not be up to southern standards, but works for me! As for being asked, seems you have the option for either one around here.. Never thought of it being odd...

    #4
    sauceman
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 10:58:14 (permalink)
    Get this:

    I go into a restaurant and order tea. The waitress says, "Sweet or unsweet." I reply, "Sweet." She says, "I'm sorry, we only have unsweet." I retort, "Well, what did you ask me for?" To which I get the brilliant reply, "I was hoping you'd say 'unsweet.'"

    Fred Sauceman
    #5
    plantdetective
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 12:42:52 (permalink)
    The best iced tea is made with Cains tea, unfortunately this Oklahoma Company has a limited distrobution. Therefore we have to import it to south texas. The best flavor of a 'plain' tea. We sweeten with granulated fructose because it has a lower glycemic index, need less than reg. sugar, and it will disolve in cold tea. So for you southerners who have to travel north look for packets of fructose to take with you.

    Paul
    #6
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 16:02:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Hillbilly

    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    If sweet tea did not exist, New Orleans would be uninhabitable in July; it would not be possible to mow one's lawn in Florida anytime between April and October


    As great as New Orleans food is, I can't find sweet tea here (or in Florida outside the panhandle) except at the barbecue and fast food joints. I always order SWEET tea, and know they are going to look at me strange when I opt for water rather than pay for the colored water they call "unsweetened" iced tea. It is impossible to make a decent drink out of tea that has sweetener added to cold tea.
    hhmmmmmm sweet tea is readily available here in Jacksonville, St Augustine and Daytona, my daughter brews hers with 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 8 teabags in a quart pot brought to a boil thgen seeped a half hour or so and made into a gal of tea
    #7
    Oneiron339
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 17:09:11 (permalink)
    When I grew up in PA many, many moons ago, iced tea was only available from Memorial Day thru Labor Day (?) and it was never sweetened. When you wanted it sweet, you placed the sugar and stirred forever only to leave half an inch of white sediment in the bottom of the glass. When I moved to ATL and was asked "Sweet or unsweet" for the first time, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Outside of Mrs. Oneiron, sweet tea is the second best thing to come out of this region. And it's gaining momentum - I was asked in a restaurant in Lancaster, PA if I wanted sweet tea and I had to check to see if I was really in the North. BTW, Mrs. Oneiron who is a true So. belle, makes the best tea, but she never drinks it - go figure. But I'm happy to get my jug of sweet tea once a week.
    #8
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 18:04:59 (permalink)
    As long as we're repeating ourselves:

    Mother was born and raised in Galesburg, IL and made wonderful iced tea. She'd make 2 pitchers for dinner every night in the warmer weather. In cooler weather, we always had orange juice for the Vitamin C.

    She'd take a clean glass quart (mayo) jar, and run the hot tap water into it until all was as hot as it was going to get. She then trailed 3 A & P "Our Own" teabags in it for 15 minutes. I don't know why, but this way it never clouds. She'd then pour it into a pitcher half-filled with ice, and, for the sweet, 1/4 cup sugar. She'd stir until the sugar was dissolved and the ice was partially melted, then fill the pitcher up to 2 quarts with cold tap water. Our friends above have recommended 1 cup sugar for 1 gallon of tea, so you might double the sugar if you like it sweeter.

    You're all so right about the inability of dissolving sugar into iced tea. There's this restaurant in Marin County (just north of SF, CA) where they don't even have white sugar, just that "in the raw" stuff, which doesn't even dissolve in hot coffee. I don't usually order tea out anymore unless they have sweet tea.
    #9
    BT
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 18:51:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Hillbilly

    I can't find sweet tea here (or in Florida outside the panhandle) except at the barbecue and fast food joints. I always order SWEET tea, and know they are going to look at me strange when I opt for water rather than pay for the colored water they call "unsweetened" iced tea.


    Well BBQ spots really are the epicenter of the "sweet tea" world, but I have no trouble getting it in the Daytona area and it's popular enough that they sell it in gallon jugs at Publix supermarkets. True, restaurants with upscale pretentions (often run by Yankee chefs) may find it a little too redneck, but that's their problem.
    #10
    Extreme Glow
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 19:40:31 (permalink)
    Growing up in Mississippi meant sweet tea. It was only after the arrival of carpet-baggers that non-sweet tea appeared in restaurants.

    In St. Louis, it's pretty much unsweet only.

    Imagine my surprise when I went to Ottawa, Great White North, a few weeks ago and was given sweet tea at several restaurants. Non-sweet was not an option. I felt stupid the first time when I put sweetner in the tea without tasting it first, assuming that it was unsweet. I was told by a native that, yes, tea is supposed to be sweet.
    #11
    Pancho
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 19:56:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Bushie

    quote:
    Originally posted by tiramisu1

    Toooo sweet? Has anyone else not from the southeast US ever gone there and been asked by a server: "Do you want sweet or unsweet tea?"

    I told the server, well, if I want it sweetned then I'll put a packet of sugar in it. She looked at me like I was from Mars!

    I guess sweet tea is iced tea brewed with a lot of sugar added.
    I didn't realize how much people in the south love the stuff and drink it probably more than soda and water!!!!!
    I wonder why the whole sweat tea thing is not popular in other places??

    So many questions, but I'll step up to the plate:

    1) Yes, these days, the "waitgals" have to ask that question. Back in the days before "outsiders" invaded the South, ya got sweet tea, because that's what "icetea" was.

    2) She looked at you like you were from Mars because most Earthlings (southern earthings) would know that adding packets of sugar to a cold glass of tea does nothing but add useless calories; practically no flavor.

    3) NO, sweet tea is brewed with not that much sugar. With sugar in there from the start, the sweetness enhances the flavor of the tea without overpowering.

    4) We LOVE tea, because it tastes much better than almost all of the artificial crap that comes in a bottle.

    5) The reason "the whole sweet (I corrected your spelling, Moron) tea thing is not popular in other places" is because Southerners are a lot smarter than people like you.

    Have a nice evening.

    I love ya, Bushie. Well said!
    #12
    Pancho
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 21:36:02 (permalink)
    Originally posted by BT

    A few short weeks ago, we beat this into the ground: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7905&SearchTerms=sweet,tea

    But if we must, we shall have another go at it.

    Your info says you are from Atlanta, GA. One must assume, therefore, that either all your questions are rhetorical or you have moved there within the last week. Otherwise, you would understand.

    You see, iced tea in general and sweet tea in particular are understood only within the borders of the old Confederacy and certain parts of the adjacent border states (Maryland, Kentucky, maybe Missouri). It's because of the climate; the steamy liquid air and soul-draining heat of southern summer which sweet iced tea makes endurable. If sweet tea did not exist, New Orleans would be uninhabitable in July; it would not be possible to mow one's lawn in Florida anytime between April and October (when the grass grows 1-2 inches per day) and the market for patio furniture south of the Mason Dixon would dry up and go away because no one would want to go outside, ever, from May until October. You cannot understand sweet tea if your shoes don't turn green when not worn for a few weeks; if you cannot smell jasmine, gardenia or magnolia blossoms when you open the window of a summer evening or if you do not shop at Piggly Wiggly or Winn-Dixie. Sweet tea, along with white bread, is the essential accompaniment to pork BBQ. It is a requirement to the enjoyment of summer evenings out on the lawn or veranda, watching the fireflies and the mist creeping up from the bayou or swamp. In short, sweet tea is the southern liquor of life and no where else do they comprehend it.

    In other places sweet tea doesn't exist and they serve cold tea with so little ice it quickly melts. They serve it in glasses that hold so little I generally drain them in one gulp. In CA, they try to serve iced tea when they have no lemon or lime to accompany it. They serve tea with various fru-fru flavors and colorations. They just don't know what they are doing. D_mn them all!

    http://ingeb.org/songs/dixie2.mid


    And, oh yeah, one more thing: Next time you tell some poor waitress there in Atlanta that you'll sweeten your own tea, you might consider whistling this as you do it: http://www.stephen-foster-songs.de/MidiDat/amsong32.mid That way, we won't have to explain it AGAIN
    [/quote BT...Would y'all terribly mind if I copied this and had it framed? You know, copyright deals, et al. You made my day, night, and probably year with this. I look so forward to sharing your thoughts with the ignorant sort that I have the misvirtue of being subjected to. I would highly, (like hahly), recommend that you view "Cookie's Fortune" at your earliest convenience. Have that glass of sweet tea readily availble. Best wishes and Southern charm, Pancho
    #13
    UncleVic
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 21:42:06 (permalink)
    A thread not having someone going off the wall would be a nice change!
    #14
    Ralph Isbill
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 22:18:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by plantdetective

    The best iced tea is made with Cains tea, unfortunately this Oklahoma Company has a limited distrobution. Therefore we have to import it to south texas. The best flavor of a 'plain' tea. We sweeten with granulated fructose because it has a lower glycemic index, need less than reg. sugar, and it will disolve in cold tea. So for you southerners who have to travel north look for packets of fructose to take with you.

    Paul



    Here is another vote for Cains tea (another Oklahoma Product)We love our sun tea. No sugar please.
    #15
    BT
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/15 22:52:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pancho

    BT...Would y'all terribly mind if I copied this and had it framed? You know, copyright deals, et al. You made my day, night, and probably year with this. I look so forward to sharing your thoughts with the ignorant sort that I have the misvirtue of being subjected to. I would highly, (like hahly), recommend that you view "Cookie's Fortune" at your earliest convenience. Have that glass of sweet tea readily availble. Best wishes and Southern charm, Pancho


    Sure. Did the musical accompaniment work for you?
    #16
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/16 13:14:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT



    Well BBQ spots really are the epicenter of the "sweet tea" world, but I have no trouble getting it in the Daytona area and it's popular enough that they sell it in gallon jugs at Publix supermarkets. True, restaurants with upscale pretentions (often run by Yankee chefs) may find it a little too redneck, but that's their problem.
    yep!
    #17
    redtressed
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/16 17:14:51 (permalink)
    I agree with the assessment that Cain's makes the best sweet tea, with Luzianne then Red Rose filling the number two and number three spots. I have a friend in Arkansas who kindly sends some Cain's my way several times a year.

    Unfortunately, around these parts, sweet tea is not to be found in dining places. Most subscribe to that NASTY, NOXIOUS and NEFARIOUS Nestea stuff.


    To truly make the ideal sweet tea.......do not dump a cup or two of sugar into your iced tea pitcher. Instead, make a simple syrup, using 1 cup of sugar to one cup of water. Put these into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer or until all the sugar has dissolved. Let cool for a few, then add to your breewed tea. The difference in sweetning with this method is remarkable.

    I also am a big fan of brewing my sweet tea with fresh mint leaves from my herb garden. Yum!
    #18
    4fish
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/16 19:40:51 (permalink)
    Not being a Southerner by birth and being off caffeine (keeps me up all night), I'm not a tea afficionado. But I do remember reading somewhere about a famous Southern hostess who always served the tea unsweetened but passed a sugar syrup along with it so her guests could sweeten the tea to their taste. Now that's civilized!
    #19
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/17 00:59:17 (permalink)
    At the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago, according to my brother, iced tea is served with simple syrup for sweetening. I save that at home for lemonade, where I definitely see the difference.

    Janeen, if youy'd just send me THREE of those teabags in a small envelope, I'd be SO grateful!
    #20
    Vince Macek
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/17 06:49:21 (permalink)
    Love sweet tea, always have, but some restaurants have to get the hint that it has to still taste like tea. I had some the other day that had me feeling like a hummingbird - I think they were conducting an experiment to find out how much sugar a liquid could hold.
    #21
    Pogo
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/26 16:52:59 (permalink)
    When I was growing up, Mom always made tea with loose leaf tea, Liptons if my memory serves correctly. She would boil the entire amount of water needed and toss in the loose tea, then she would strain it through a tea strainer and sweeten it.

    For a long time I have made do with tea bags... and it just isn't the same. A few years ago I found Liptons Red Label and Taj Majal loose leaf tea in boxes and now I have that good tea of my childhood. I too, use a simple syrup with mountain mint in it.

    Gonna go have a glass right now.
    #22
    morningglory
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/26 20:54:58 (permalink)
    Gosh, as a Northerner, I never realized how complicated brewing iced tea could be. For many years I steeped tea bags, and later enjoyed "sun tea". Most recently I discovered one commercial sized Lipton's Tea bag in a gallon of cold water, 'til desired strength, was the easiest, clearest, and smoothest in taste. And, embarassingly easy. So simple. So many compliments.

    Of course, a squeeze from my CA lemons and a bit of Spenda for subtle enhancement. Totally refreshing and delightful. Yumm.
    #23
    BT
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/27 01:10:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by 4fish

    Not being a Southerner by birth and being off caffeine (keeps me up all night), I'm not a tea afficionado.


    Don't let any of that stop you. Emeril's a Yankee but they love him in N.O. and there are several brands of decaffeinated tea readily available (personally, I get mine at Wal-Mart).
    #24
    leslie1787
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/27 03:52:40 (permalink)


    ((To truly make the ideal sweet tea.......do not dump a cup or two of sugar into your iced tea pitcher. Instead, make a simple syrup, using 1 cup of sugar to one cup of water. Put these into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer or until all the sugar has dissolved. Let cool for a few, then add to your breewed tea. The difference in sweetning with this method is remarkable.

    I also am a big fan of brewing my sweet tea with fresh mint leaves from my herb garden. Yum!))


    Absolutely, Redtressed! The secret is in making the syrup. You can add sugar til h**l freezes and you won't get the right result. Best sweet tea I have ever had was at the Beacon Drive-In on a roadtrip thru Spartenburg.
    #25
    Pitts
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/27 05:47:41 (permalink)
    I noticed that #5 in the list of why southerners like sweet tea was a complete insult. Is that typically southern or am I missing something?
    #26
    jmckee
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/27 09:47:16 (permalink)
    I grew up in Cincinnati, the son of a Kentucky woman, and I have been drinking sweet tea since I was three years old. My poor wife had to learn the hard way by sweetening tea served sweetened. (it took her awhile to understand pinto beans, cornbread, and collard greens as well.......)

    John Egerton, in Side Orders, has a nice essay on iced tea in general, in which he mourns the fact that Master's and PhD candidates in history are wasting their time on foolish topics instead of doing serious research into exactly who invented iced tea so this obvious genius could be immortalized with a statue somewhere.
    #27
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/27 16:04:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pitts

    I noticed that #5 in the list of why southerners like sweet tea was a complete insult. Is that typically southern or am I missing something?
    Ah mustah missed somethin.. Ah scrolled backNforth looking fer ah insult an ahm not even shure I found ah list.. was ya referrin to panchos axamples? Sweet tea like mint julips and many thangs saahthan are part an parcial of life, if ya need it explained yer not gonna unnerstan
    #28
    Hotrodder
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/28 14:20:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by dreamzpainter

    quote:
    Originally posted by Pitts

    I noticed that #5 in the list of why southerners like sweet tea was a complete insult. Is that typically southern or am I missing something?
    Ah mustah missed somethin.. Ah scrolled backNforth looking fer ah insult an ahm not even shure I found ah list.. was ya referrin to panchos axamples? Sweet tea like mint julips and many thangs saahthan are part an parcial of life, if ya need it explained yer not gonna unnerstan


    quote:
    5) The reason "the whole sweet (I corrected your spelling, Moron) tea thing is not popular in other places" is because Southerners are a lot smarter than people like you


    The second post, this place is getting mean.
    #29
    Rusty246
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    RE: Sweet Tea 2005/06/28 15:09:15 (permalink)
    My boyfriend uses 4 Lipton family size bags per gallon of tea, 7/8c sugar. I use the same number of bags, 2 c sugar. Everyone has always liked my tea, he about spit it across the room when he tried it. Needless to say, we always have two gallons of tea in the fridge.
    #30
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